Readers in Council,
The Japan Times,
5-4, Shibaura 4-chome,
Minato-ku, Tokyo 108-0023
Regarding “Magic: Sterling ‘living in stone ages,'” (Japan Times, Thursday, May 15, 2014), in his fumbling attempt to apologize for recent racist remarks about black athletes, Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling appeared to make things worse for himself and is freshly being vilified with greater ferocity than before by his inept attempt to discredit former basketball great Earvin Magic Johnson. At this point it doesn’t matter what Sterling says or does since he is cast as the racist villain of American society. He will never be allowed to escape the role, because the theater of race in America demands its villains and heroes. This Magic Johnson kerfuffle is unfortunate because Sterling’s polemic does have a real point. The media, the basketball association, the Olympic Committee, etc., venerate Johnson as a great role model first because of his outstanding athleticism and athletic accomplishments, and second as a long-term HIV survivor he fits a niche opportunity to be a positive, hopeful example.
But I largely agree with Sterling’s point about Magic Johnson. First, as an athlete he is diminished as a person more than augmented in my view, and therefore he is an inappropriate role model regardless of his accomplishments. Anyone who pursues an athletic career is diminished. They are meat prostituting themselves as public spectacles. I don’t revere athletes, or rock stars, or actors, or politicians, astronauts, policemen, firemen, soldiers, teachers or activists. Second, Johnson confessed to the source of his HIV infection. It was through unrestrained, unprotected promiscuous, adulterous sex during his playing career. Therefore he is an inappropriate role model because he is a moral reprobate, a sexual idiot and a marital criminal. Maybe he is a nice guy personally - I doubt it - but he is certainly a bad example of human behavior. So Sterling’s criticism of the former star is on the mark. It’s just unfortunate that he says it while trapped in the racist role, because it just raises the walls of his isolation.